Tyneham Village

The Deserted Village of Tyneham black and white photo of tyneham village

Tyneham village is one of Dorset’s most interesting tourist destinations. Before the war Tyneham was a bustling village. Now it has been deserted for over 60 years.

Before that it was an idyllic countryside village. Located only a couple of miles from the sea and the delightfully picturesque Worbarrow Bay.

It had its own church, school, rectory, several farms and lots of cottages. Its most prominent building was the grand mansion house called Tyneham House, or the Great House as it was also known.

Life for the villagers was idyllic and simple. Like many places in that era, there was no electricity or running water. However it was still a lovely place to live. They were free from the trouble and strife of the outside world.

Early Photo of Tyneham Village with Horse and Cart

So what happened to this quaint little village? Why did its inhabitants decide to leave?

Well, the villagers didn’t want to leave. After all, who would want to leave such lovely homes in a quiet and peaceful part of the Dorset countryside..

Unfortunately, the onset of World War 2 changed the lives of many people all around the world. On Christmas Eve 1943, the residents of Tyneham were about to join the millions whose lives would be turned upside down by the war.

Due to its proximity to the Lulworth firing ranges, the government decided to claim Tyneham village and much of its surrounding land as a place to train the allied forces. The villagers were told they must temporarily leave their homes for the greater good.

They didn’t know it at the time but once the war was over, they would never be allowed to return to their homes. As they packed up their belongings and left they pinned a note to the door of the village church which read:

note left by villagers on Tyneham church door

However, until now, despite a number of high profile campaigns, the original residents have never been allowed to return to their homes.

Sadly, nearly early all the evacuees have now passed away. Their last thoughts and memories captured on the Tyneham Remembered DVD. Because of this, it remains unlikely that the government will release the village.

The village of Tyneham has remained as if frozen in time for the last 60 years.

When Tyneham village is open its a lovely place to visit and provides a glimpse into the past of how life used to be in this quaint little village. Please check the opening dates before visiting.

Tyneham Post Office

24 thoughts on “Tyneham Village

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    I recently saw an episode of country tracks which was aired on BBC 1 on 22/08/2010 which was episode 47. It was a piece about tyneham village and featured Doug Churchill talking about having to leave his old house during the war. When the piece started on the programme presented by Jodie Kidd there was a piece of very enchanting music that was so beautiful that I can’t get it out of my head and I can’t find any information of what the music was. Can anyone help me to try and track it down. Thanks

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    One of the most magical places I have ever been, I love it there.

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    A wondrous site and a piece of history the majority of the world forgot. Walking around the remains of the village, we felt the sadness that still prevails and the isolation of the place prior to its forced eviction.

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    As a child I lived in Sandford near Wareham and there is a road called Tyneham cl where some of the people evacuated from Tyneham lived. I remember a man called John Gould who fought for the families of Tyneham and the return of their village which sadly has not happened. I love Tyneham it is my favourite place in my beloved Dorset. It is preserved trapped in time where life was lived at a slower pace and people were close knit. If you have not visited yet then you should you will be charmed by this sad but beautiful village.

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    Hi Tim, I’ve only just noticed your message. I researched the feature for Country Tracks and might be able to find out the piece of music for you. Drop me a line on anna.taylor@bbc.co.uk and I’ll see what I can do. Many thanks.

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    I visited there to find my surname on one of the houses . Would love to know if they were related to me . I found the village fascinating . But it was a wet and muddy day . So we are going back this year on a better day .

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    My mother now Nancy Banister (Coupe) was born in 1921
    She remembers it fondly . Her father was rector at Tyneham
    I know she would love to move back.

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    My Grandmother attended the school at Tyenham, her work is visible in one of the writing desks and her name is on the pegs as you enter the building.

    My family has a huge amount of history and were some of the residents that were displaced but returned.

    Sadly my Grandmother isn’t alive any more but my cousins still live in the area near Grange Road and farm the area and maintain all of the arable land which is used by the military and the mining.
    The mining company have destroyed some of the farm houses on the land, where my grand parents and parents grew up and they wanted to evict my cousins – they were part of the BBC program COAST.

    If anyone is interested in our family history here then please get in touch.

    FYI my grand mother is Violet Burt and her desk is the one with the butter fly drawing.

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    I just finished the book, “The House at Tyneford” a novel based on the great estate at Tyneham set during WWII. Written by Natasha Solomon’s, it was a great read!!

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    My mother Nancy Coupe was born at Tyneham rectory in 1921 , her father was the rector .
    She remembers well many events that happened at Tyneham. She will be 95 on the 16th April 2016 and still going strong. We hope to visit Tyneham with mother this summer.

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    I love this little village. I walk this area quite often, and it still makes me angry, that the Army still need, the village for army maneuvers?

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    Visited Tyneham in late 1960s. Beautiful place. Have just read novel by Natasha Solomons – The Novel of the Viola which has brought it all back. Have watched the MOD saga over the years and am disgusted with their stance. Studying geology at the time, I visited Kimmeridge and the fossilised forest (with permit from MOD).
    Ever hopeful the MOD will relent. Plenty of empty bases in Scotland where locals would welcome income!
    Maybe Sturgeon could help?
    Good luck.
    Audrey Galpin

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    Some of my relatives lived in the village and Great Uncle Bob is listed in the register in the church, Shepherd Welland. His wife Alice was employed at the Big House.
    At the evacuation he moved to a tiny cottage dug into the side of a hill very near the village of Corfe close to where his daughter lived and as far as I know descendants live to this day.
    When the village was first opened to the public at bank holidays, it was vital that you kept to the marked paths as it was not unusual for a wandering cow or sheep to get killed by a shell buried since the war.
    My father would take us there to visit the church especially, and to wander round the village where he would tell us who lived where and tales about the villagers.
    September 2017

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    We visited the village some years ago, what a lovely piece of history this place is….

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    Go and visit this wonderful place.Close your eyes and imagine the past.They gave up their home so we could have our lives.

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    Be warned if you go to this place it will be with you forevermore
    a truly incredible experience an absolute must visit.

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    We visited this fascinating hidden place at the weekend for the first time – many thanks to everyone who helps keep it a place for people to come and look at and learn about.

    Our visit was marred by a group of people who thought it was ok to climb on the buildings and make a lot of noise in doing so – the parents weren’t keeping the children under control but were themselves climbing on the old walls!

    Thankfully the outstanding views as one drives to and from the village made up for that and we loved the opportunity to go to Tyneham.

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    Where can I find the opening times/dates please?

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    I am Jason Edmunds / Warr is my mums maiden name and we are a Tynham family. I went to Tynham for the first time in my life in 2017 and had no idea of our history. I am a New Zealander and live in Waiheke Island and would love to know where our family went to ? My mum now lives in Swanage Dorset England with her sister and there’s Warr’s in Australia so it would be great if anyone has any information,…..

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    My dad used to live here when he was a boy . He used to work on the farm and do look out on the hill .he is a Taylor . I love going to Tnyeham its a lovely place

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    My dad used to live at Tyneham when he as a boy he worked on the farm and used to do lookout on the hill by the beach .The Taylor family

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    Hi Tim… I recently came across this episode on an old DVD and I am too captivated by the music on the episode on Tyneham Village on country tracks episode 47 dated 22/08/2010 …. Has anyone be able to identify the music on this clip.. Thanks

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    I have recently visited the beautiful village of Tyneham ( summer2020). Because of COVID restrictions we were not able to go inside the church, the schoolhouse or any of the farm buildings. Even with these restrictions the essence of this quaint little village could not stop itself finding its way into my heart. It will stay there forever.
    We will go back to Tyneham once this pandemic has passed so we can walk into the church, school and outbuildings.
    Why can’t the army give this beautiful village back the peace and tranquility it enjoyed before they arrived. It makes me weep to think of the poor residents that were given promises to return but promises, that were never honoured.
    It’s an absolute disgrace. The sadness in that village will live with me forever.

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